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Running out of light... full frame?
Old 06-09-2015   #1
eric4
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Running out of light... full frame?

Howdy y'all
I'm starting to shoot more events these days and enjoying getting better at them as well.

Shot a wine auction dinner the other night with my K-3 and Ricoh GR, but had to start cranking the cameras up to 6400 ISO just to get an exposure.

I mostly had the DA 55 1.4 on my k-3, as my other two lenses were the 100 2.8 macro (noisy) and the sigma 17-70 2.8-4 (slow)

Going through the photos, I'm slightly disappointed by the amount of noise I'm getting on the APS-C sensor. And one thing Pentax seems to be lacking are fast, wider primes.

This client didn't have any issues with the noise/quality, but I don't feel comfortable delivering this type of work to future clients.

I really like my Pentax K-3, it's great in the studio (my primary work) and I like the controls and build etc. I don't think I want to jump into a new full frame DSLR system due to the high cost and I already don't like pointing a big camera at people in intimate situations.

So that leaves the m240 or sony a7ii/s. I love shooting with rangefinders and already have the VM Nokton 50mm 1.5 M-mount which is sharp wide open.
Does anyone have experience shooting these three cameras past 6400 with clean results? If so, what would you recommend?

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Old 06-09-2015   #2
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I've shot a lot of dark events, and the one thing I would say is you're aiming for far too light an image, the above photo is not a realistic portrayal of the scene as it would have looked to your eye on the night, so why not let it be as was, fairly dark and much moodier. I generally shoot with Canon 5d iii and fuji Xpro, but I rarely set either higher than 2500iso.
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Old 06-09-2015   #3
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Frankly, I don't see as much noise or artifacts or anything in there. It's a nice image, and while there may be some things in the man's face (along his jaw), it's still a very good shot. I'd be proud of it.
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Old 06-09-2015   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SolaresLarrave View Post
Frankly, I don't see as much noise or artifacts or anything in there. It's a nice image, and while there may be some things in the man's face (along his jaw), it's still a very good shot. I'd be proud of it.
Same here,

Cheers,

R.
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Old 06-09-2015   #5
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There's an obvious abundance of grain - looks like 400 speed film. Are we looking at the same image?

Any modern FF sensor will give you excellent noise performance even @6400.
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Old 06-09-2015   #6
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Have a look at the end of this gallery, the dinner was held in one of the Cambridge university colleges which have no electricity, so this like yours is only lit by candlelight.
http://www.robertlawler.co.uk/olivia-tristram
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Old 06-09-2015   #7
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Sony have very good deal for now:

http://store.sony.com/a7-full-frame-...pfm%3Dcategory

It is fine if you are going to use existing RF lens, but I recommend to check available glass for this camera. This is what turns me off every time I'm ready to jump on it.
Nothing to compare with my Canon L glass and used 5DMKII is cheap or even new 6D, which is really good at high ISO in color.

For now I'm OK with old Canon 500D cropper. New camera like this costs something like $500.

ISO6400:

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Old 06-09-2015   #8
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Very nice image, Eric.
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Old 06-09-2015   #9
eric4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SolaresLarrave View Post
Frankly, I don't see as much noise or artifacts or anything in there. It's a nice image, and while there may be some things in the man's face (along his jaw), it's still a very good shot. I'd be proud of it.
Thank you.

I'm not trying to say that I would be getting better photographs with a full frame sensor necessarily. It would just make me feel more comfortable having a more robust file and not have to shoot wide open f1.4 and not be concerned with too slow of a shutter speed.

Maybe I should just rent a Sony and try it out. Would you guys recommend the a7ii for it's image stabilization? Or the a7s for the high ISO capabilities?

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Old 06-09-2015   #10
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Just a thought to help.

I'm guessing JPEG (JPG) file?

If it is then:

In Photoshop (Oldie moldie me I still use CS4) go to:
Image,
Then click on levels.
Click on the blue channel.
Set at anywhere from 87 to 90.
Then go to by clicking on image:
Hue/Saturation.
Click on the red channel.
Set to around -7
Does this help?

I don't use this method anymore as I capture using RAW format.
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Old 06-09-2015   #11
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Well, this B&W is an out-of-camera JPEG with the M-P typ 240 using the Nokton 50/1.5 ASPH (LTM) lens.


Leica M-P + Nokton 50mm f/1.5 ASPH (LTM)
ISO 3200 @ f/1.5 @ 1/25
OOC JPEG

It stands up to printing at 11x17 inch very nicely: tight, small grain pattern which aids a perception of sharpness rather than noise.

I haven't pulled it from raw into a color rendering yet.

BTW: The Olympus E-M1 with equivalent focal length fast lens (Summilux-DG 25mm f/1.4 ASPH) nets similar quality at ISO 6400 and I can go a stop longer on the exposure (1/15 sec) due to the image stabilization. Can't go any longer on exposure than that due to subject motion. You get more DoF due to the smaller format/shorter lens, etc, at the same light gathering power. So I'd say that FF isn't absolutely necessary.

G
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Old 06-09-2015   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Clark View Post
Just a thought to help.

I'm guessing JPEG (JPG) file?

If it is then:

In Photoshop (Oldie moldie me I still use CS4) go to:
Image,
Then click on levels.
Click on the blue channel.
Set at anywhere from 87 to 90.
Then go to by clicking on image:
Hue/Saturation.
Click on the red channel.
Set to around -7
Does this help?

Yes, it definitely hides some of the artifacts and restores more natural tones in the skin. Thanks for the tip!

Is there noise reduction software that does a better job than Lightroom's settings?
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Old 06-09-2015   #13
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The noise reduction stuff I have examined all make the image a little too soft for my tastes.

If you convert to a B & W it tends to show less noise.

The light on the lady with the hat looks good.

Sorry I don't use Lightroom.
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Old 06-09-2015   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
Well, this B&W is an out-of-camera JPEG with the M-P typ 240 using the Nokton 50/1.5 ASPH (LTM) lens.

It stands up to printing at 11x17 inch very nicely: tight, small grain pattern which aids a perception of sharpness rather than noise.

I haven't pulled it from raw into a color rendering yet.

BTW: The Olympus E-M1 with equivalent focal length fast lens (Summilux-DG 25mm f/1.4 ASPH) nets similar quality at ISO 6400 and I can go a stop longer on the exposure (1/15 sec) due to the image stabilization. Can't go any longer on exposure than that due to subject motion. You get more DoF due to the smaller format/shorter lens, etc, at the same light gathering power. So I'd say that FF isn't absolutely necessary.

G
Great shot! And a very clean result at 3200, glad to see the Nokton working so well on a digital sensor.

I should maybe reconsider Olympus, I used to have an E-M5, but it was too lethargic and I didn't like the viewfinder quality. Sounds like the E-M1 is a nice improvement.
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Old 06-09-2015   #15
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There is the FA Series with the 31/1.8, 43/1.9, and 77/1.8. I have used the 31/1.8 and the 77/1.8 with my K52s and enjoy the results. I believe the 31.8 is equivalent to a 47mm and the 77/1.8 is equivalent to a 115mm on a APS-C sensor.
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Old 06-09-2015   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seakayaker1 View Post
There is the FA Series with the 31/1.8, 43/1.9, and 77/1.8. I have used the 31/1.8 and the 77/1.8 with my K52s and enjoy the results. I believe the 31.8 is equivalent to a 47mm and the 77/1.8 is equivalent to a 115mm on a APS-C sensor.
I've considered some of the FA limiteds, as pentax doesn't have too many fast lenses. I would love that 31mm on a full frame Pentax

My only concern is the noisy screw drive motor for events. Although on a wider lens like the 31, the focus throw isn't as long as my 100mm macro, so it's an abbreviated whirl.
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Old 06-09-2015   #17
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A key mistake people often make is assuming they have to expose interior/dark scenes the exact same way they would shoot in bright daylight. However, our eyes/brains are used to dark scenes looking a bit dimmer. Including bright point sources in the frame, such as lights or candles, gives us a relative reference point for lighting.

What I'm seeing in these pictures is that you could actually afford to underexpose a bit more, to help convey the intimate evening mood. As for noise, I would crush the black levels down - the most noise appears in the darkest areas of the frame, and further darkening will help to hide it.

The gear you have is more than adequate for shooting these sorts of scenes. Just practice!
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Old 06-09-2015   #18
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A few thoughts:

I worked for a time in prepress. A dark, moody image that looks good on a computer display, may not translate well to print. High quality printing on glossy stock may be OK, but cheaper quality magazine/newsprint can be problematic. It's one of the difficulties delivering images to clients if they don't know or can't tell you specific end uses. In any case, nowadays with most things being displayed on an electronic device, you probably can get away with things on the dark side.

Regarding the cameras you asked about: I only have extensive experience with the M240 and would say that while 6400 can be usable, I prefer to keep 3200 as the max, and if possible, 1600. At 3200, at least with my camera, banding starts to become evident and the files are not all that malleable in post. You need to be pretty spot on with your exposures. Also, if you're someone who likes to grab a couple quick shots to ensure you have one with everyone's eyes open, a good expression, no camera shake or subject motion (if at marginal shutter speeds), as soon as you set the M240's ISO above 1000, it goes from ~3fps to ~1fps. This really annoys me, but might not be a problem for anyone content with shooting in single shot mode.

Regarding the a7S vs. a7II: I shot a few weeks with the a7S. It's strength at high ISOs is good color quality, however, I wouldn't consider it to be all that much cleaner (also based on comparison with my 1DX files) for luminance noise. The primary reason I would get it over other a7 cameras is the fully electronic shutter, which is dead silent. However, if you're using native glass on it, you can hear the aperture stopping down (generally very minor and probably irrelevant in dark situations) and focus drive, particularly if adapting older screw-drive alpha lenses. With adapted fully manual glass, of course it's totally silent. The a7II gives you IBIS, which can be very useful at marginal shutter speeds with normal to short telephoto lenses in this kind of work. Usually people aren't moving around too much, so image stabilization will buy you some sharpness. Another consideration is the size of files you're delivering to your clients. Is 12MP enough? For event type work, I think it would be. In fact, past experience has been that the average non-techy person's computer system tends to bog down with huge files. You could very well downsample 24MP a7ii files to ~12MP and it will mask the noise difference between the two. Downsampling with a touch of sharpening will give you a sharper 12MP image from a higher resolution sensor than from a native 12MP sensor.

Something else to consider with really low light work is how well EVF based systems will or won't handle such conditions. Will the EVF become really laggy and grainy? Will AF hunt a lot more? A concern I would have is how unusable a camera might become if the AF system starts having problems focusing. You could completely miss moments waiting for something to lock on.

IMO, the fastest focusing system for really low light is often a rangefinder, followed by some of the higher end DSLRs with -2, -3EV AF systems.

Another M mount lens to keep in mind if you're considering the a7/a7S route is the 35/1.2 Nokton. It will give you the moderate wide you're maybe looking for, with better technical performance than the 35/1.4. It also is one of the few RF wides that works really well with unmodified a7 series bodies.
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Old 06-09-2015   #19
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Just a bit of praise for that photo: I like the grain too. And it's a nice shot. I think it might look better in B&W and with the blacks deepened a little and the exposure backed off a bit.

Also: I loved the FA Limiteds when I had them. They're so great: their rendering of images of course but also their handling and appearance. The 31 in particular. I do hope the proposed Pentax FF camera actually comes to pass.
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Old 06-09-2015   #20
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I have Topaz DeNoise and am constantly amazed at how well it will reduce or eliminate noise and yet retain detail. That and Topaz Detail are the two cornerstones of my lowlight pix. Free trials on any of the Topaz products at TopazLabs.com. And no, I don't work for them. In fact, I don't work.
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Old 06-09-2015   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rscheffler View Post
...
Something else to consider with really low light work is how well EVF based systems will or won't handle such conditions. Will the EVF become really laggy and grainy? Will AF hunt a lot more? A concern I would have is how unusable a camera might become if the AF system starts having problems focusing. You could completely miss moments waiting for something to lock on.
...
For my use in dark circumstances and very low light, the Olympus E-M1's EVF and AF have performed well beyond my expectations—better than any other EVF camera has to date (including the A7). The viewfinder is smooth and clean appearing even down to very low light levels, lower than I can focus either an SLR or RF camera in critically, and the AF is remarkable.

Even when AF does give up the ghost, the combination of the excellent EVF and the body's image stabilization nets easy critical focus until it's so dark that I really shouldn't be trying to make photographs.

This photo is a street shot made in late Fall of 2013 using the E-M1 fitted with a ZD 35mm f/3.5 Macro lens (from my Olympus FourThirds kit) while wandering about Santa Clara City Center in the depths of the evening (about 8pm or so). Given the Micro-FourThirds format, the lens produces the equivalent of a 70mm focal length on the Leica M-P or a 50mm focal length on Pentax K3.


I don't have the specs here, but I recall it was made with the camera set to ISO 6400 and the lens wide open, autofocus enabled. Total illumination was quite dim, exposure time down around 1/8-1/15 second. Focusing was fast and sure on the subject's face, and that was before the latest firmware update to the E-M1 which made AF focusing shockingly more quick and accurate than before.

I felt it did all right. :-)

G

addendum:
Looked up the exposure here at home: ISO 6400 @ f/3.5 @ 1/25 sec.
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Old 06-09-2015   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lonemantis View Post
A key mistake people often make is assuming they have to expose interior/dark scenes the exact same way they would shoot in bright daylight. However, our eyes/brains are used to dark scenes looking a bit dimmer. Including bright point sources in the frame, such as lights or candles, gives us a relative reference point for lighting.

What I'm seeing in these pictures is that you could actually afford to underexpose a bit more, to help convey the intimate evening mood. As for noise, I would crush the black levels down - the most noise appears in the darkest areas of the frame, and further darkening will help to hide it.

The gear you have is more than adequate for shooting these sorts of scenes. Just practice!
I'm sure you're right - my gear is sufficient for what I'm trying to shoot. Experience trumps gear, there is no doubt about it. I will practice more in low light conditions before shooting my next event.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rscheffler View Post
A few thoughts:

I worked for a time in prepress. A dark, moody image that looks good on a computer display, may not translate well to print. High quality printing on glossy stock may be OK, but cheaper quality magazine/newsprint can be problematic. It's one of the difficulties delivering images to clients if they don't know or can't tell you specific end uses. In any case, nowadays with most things being displayed on an electronic device, you probably can get away with things on the dark side.

Regarding the cameras you asked about: I only have extensive experience with the M240 and would say that while 6400 can be usable, I prefer to keep 3200 as the max, and if possible, 1600. At 3200, at least with my camera, banding starts to become evident and the files are not all that malleable in post. You need to be pretty spot on with your exposures. Also, if you're someone who likes to grab a couple quick shots to ensure you have one with everyone's eyes open, a good expression, no camera shake or subject motion (if at marginal shutter speeds), as soon as you set the M240's ISO above 1000, it goes from ~3fps to ~1fps. This really annoys me, but might not be a problem for anyone content with shooting in single shot mode.

Regarding the a7S vs. a7II: I shot a few weeks with the a7S. It's strength at high ISOs is good color quality, however, I wouldn't consider it to be all that much cleaner (also based on comparison with my 1DX files) for luminance noise. The primary reason I would get it over other a7 cameras is the fully electronic shutter, which is dead silent. However, if you're using native glass on it, you can hear the aperture stopping down (generally very minor and probably irrelevant in dark situations) and focus drive, particularly if adapting older screw-drive alpha lenses. With adapted fully manual glass, of course it's totally silent. The a7II gives you IBIS, which can be very useful at marginal shutter speeds with normal to short telephoto lenses in this kind of work. Usually people aren't moving around too much, so image stabilization will buy you some sharpness. Another consideration is the size of files you're delivering to your clients. Is 12MP enough? For event type work, I think it would be. In fact, past experience has been that the average non-techy person's computer system tends to bog down with huge files. You could very well downsample 24MP a7ii files to ~12MP and it will mask the noise difference between the two. Downsampling with a touch of sharpening will give you a sharper 12MP image from a higher resolution sensor than from a native 12MP sensor.

Something else to consider with really low light work is how well EVF based systems will or won't handle such conditions. Will the EVF become really laggy and grainy? Will AF hunt a lot more? A concern I would have is how unusable a camera might become if the AF system starts having problems focusing. You could completely miss moments waiting for something to lock on.

IMO, the fastest focusing system for really low light is often a rangefinder, followed by some of the higher end DSLRs with -2, -3EV AF systems.

Another M mount lens to keep in mind if you're considering the a7/a7S route is the 35/1.2 Nokton. It will give you the moderate wide you're maybe looking for, with better technical performance than the 35/1.4. It also is one of the few RF wides that works really well with unmodified a7 series bodies.
I didn't know about the m240's slower FPS with ISO turned up. That will be taken into consideration

The a7 series viewfinders seem like they're similar in quality to the x-t1, which was my last camera.

I do think 12mp is enough, maybe I should downsize the files from my k-3 to make them look a little cleaner for my clients.

I did find some AF issues with the pentax in low light situations. Quite a few missed focus shots @ 1.4 with the 55mm. A few of them would have been winners if they were in focus

The Nikon D4 or 5Diii would probably be great cameras for low light focusing. I just don't want to jump into a new system other than my Ikon ZI and Pentax.

Thank you for your insight, I may rent myself an a7ii and maybe the nokton 35mm 1.2 or ZM distagon 35mm 1.4 to see how MF works through Sony's EVF


Quote:
Originally Posted by mabelsound View Post
Just a bit of praise for that photo: I like the grain too. And it's a nice shot. I think it might look better in B&W and with the blacks deepened a little and the exposure backed off a bit.

Also: I loved the FA Limiteds when I had them. They're so great: their rendering of images of course but also their handling and appearance. The 31 in particular. I do hope the proposed Pentax FF camera actually comes to pass.
I'm hoping Pentax releases a FF DSLR as well. It would definitely compliment my setup as my 55 1.4 and 100 2.8 cover the FF circle.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Darthfeeble View Post
I have Topaz DeNoise and am constantly amazed at how well it will reduce or eliminate noise and yet retain detail. That and Topaz Detail are the two cornerstones of my lowlight pix. Free trials on any of the Topaz products at TopazLabs.com. And no, I don't work for them. In fact, I don't work.
I haven't heard of this software. I'll take a look into it, thanks for the recommendation.
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Old 06-09-2015   #23
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Nice photo!

This situation is one reason I own a Nokton 17.5/0.95 and have just purchased the Nokton 10.5/0.95.

I actually refer shooting CineStill 800T film, but there is a low light limit requiring digital.

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Old 06-09-2015   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rscheffler View Post
...
Regarding the cameras you asked about: I only have extensive experience with the M240 and would say that while 6400 can be usable, I prefer to keep 3200 as the max, and if possible, 1600. At 3200, at least with my camera, banding starts to become evident and the files are not all that malleable in post. You need to be pretty spot on with your exposures. Also, if you're someone who likes to grab a couple quick shots to ensure you have one with everyone's eyes open, a good expression, no camera shake or subject motion (if at marginal shutter speeds), as soon as you set the M240's ISO above 1000, it goes from ~3fps to ~1fps. This really annoys me, but might not be a problem for anyone content with shooting in single shot mode.
...
Quote:
Originally Posted by eric4 View Post
...
I didn't know about the m240's slower FPS with ISO turned up. That will be taken into consideration
...
That's an interesting detail. I hadn't noticed it at all, but then I almost never shoot in continuous drive mode. I tested it with the M-P and indeed, that's the behavior. I wonder why.

Regardless, the camera's responsiveness is excellent for single shots. Much faster than I am with an M4-2 and a wind lever... :-)

G
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Old 06-09-2015   #25
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I shoot alot in low light with M9 believe it or not, but very fast glass. I also have A7. As far as I'm concerned the Sony gets ugly after 1000ISO. But I never need to go over that with superseed glass.

The key lens for this strategy is the CV 35/1.2, which actually has some DOF at f/1.2

Here was super dim bar with low orange lights:

L1030955 by unoh7, on Flickr

not a fantastic shot or anything, but shows what ISO 640 can do at 35/1.2 on M9


Zuck by unoh7, CV 50/1.1 WO and lights were Low. ISO 400.

But watching what alot of guys are doing these days, and reading your opening post, I think it's a no-brainer.

Forget A7II, as IBIS may get you lower shutters, but people still move, and I think even 60 is way to slow for an event.

The current phenom in low light today is the A7s. The other models do not remotely compare in low light. You don't need fast glass for it. The great native FE 35/2.8 will shoot in the worst light very clean, and the 50/1.8 even better. Does not like many RF wides though.

The other camera which many love in dark social settings is the RX-1.
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Old 06-09-2015   #26
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Godfrey: Good to know some mirrorless cameras are doing OK in dark situations. It's probably a case of needing to try them all to see which is best.

Eric: I'd definitely consider downsizing somewhat. It will help the overall sharpness and tighten the grain. The ZM35/1.4 is an even better lens than the Nokton 35/1.2, except it plays less nicely on the Sony cameras. Whereas on the M system it is already quite sharp across the frame wide open, and really sharp by 2.8 due to a very flat plane of focus, on the Sonys it runs into the same problem as most other wide RFs - edge smearing (as opposed to color shift). However, for event type work at nearer subject distances and with subjects that won't necessarily be filling the frame with critical content, this may not be as much of a concern. It will be a factor for technically demanding landscape type work.

Oh, something else to know about fully electronic shutters - because everything currently on the mirrorless market, AFAIK, does a progressive scan off the sensor for the exposure, rather than all pixels at the exact same moment (global shutter), if the lighting in the venue is something that flickers on and off rapidly, like fluorescent lights, mercury/sodium vapor or some LED configurations, you will end up with alternating light and dark bands across your image that will look like a weird case of banding. Sometimes it's subtle, but other times not. I had this problem shooting the Ricoh GXR in electronic shutter mode at night under street lights. Switching to the regular shutter mode eliminated the problem.

I'd guess that Pentax will release their full frame camera at some point. I was at a local photo expo attended by a number of brands, including Pentax/Ricoh. They had the new 70-200/2.8 on display. Quite a large, solid, impressive lens. I briefly tried it on a K3 and it seemed nice. Anyway, my point is if they've gone to the effort to produce this lens for full frame, they'll probably follow through on the full frame camera. Probably.
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Old 06-09-2015   #27
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This looks like you sharpened everything in the image, including the noise that is there vs. the detail you want emphasized.

Try lowering (moving the slider to the right) the "Masking" slider in LR. Backing down on the masking (you can hit Alt/Option key while you are adjusting it to see what it is actually getting applied to) will prevent sharpening/accentuation of the grain, which helps noise reduction work better.

Yes, noise reduction plug ins will work much better than LR's basic NR controls.
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Old 06-09-2015   #28
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Charlie, the only 'problem' with the a7S is it's one of the few Sony cameras to remain at its introductory retail price for so long. Compared to some mirrorless options, it's quite pricy, but in-line with comparable DSLR offerings. I'd probably look at a D750 at that price point.

Godfrey: just noticed your second post. Based on quantitative testing by Jim Kasson, he found that 'something' happens to the M240 internally between ISO 1000 and 1250, in respect to how images, including DNG files are processed. At 1000 and lower, there is a different black point set, IIRC. And you can see it quite definitely when comparing ISO 1000 vs. 1250 or 1600 files in the way very deep shadow values are noisier but not blocked up/clipped in the 1250+ images. I'd guess that something related to processing ISO 1250 and higher files and clearing them from the buffer is more time consuming/intensive for the processor, which forces the fps downgrade. IIRC, with the M9, the buffer size tended to shrink even more when shooting above a certain ISO (maybe 640?), so it's not unprecedented. Another quirk related to this: M240 shadows take on a slight green tinge in ISO 1000 and lower images, and can generally be resolved with the M240 green shadow fix plug-in for Lightroom: http://blog.perkins.org.uk The green shadow tinge often isn't noticeable, particularly at base ISO, but becomes a problem if you start digging into shadow values relatively aggressively. As the ISO increases, the malleability of M240 files progressively decreases and it takes less work to reveal the green shadow tinge. With the M9 I would typically shoot a bit on the dark side and push in post because the files could handle it quite well. With the M240 I tend to err more on the 'expose to the right' principle to keep shadow values as open as possible.
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Old 06-09-2015   #29
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BTW: The Olympus E-M1 with equivalent focal length fast lens (Summilux-DG 25mm f/1.4 ASPH) nets similar quality at ISO 6400 and I can go a stop longer on the exposure (1/15 sec) due to the image stabilization. Can't go any longer on exposure than that due to subject motion. You get more DoF due to the smaller format/shorter lens, etc, at the same light gathering power. So I'd say that FF isn't absolutely necessary.
Strictly, the E-M1 sensor is gathering 1/4 the light at equivalent settings to the full-frame camera. You should expect to see two stops better noise performance from FF, although differences in sensor design often close this (the Olympus sensors are very good IMO - probably only a stop or so worse than my 5DIII, and Leica sensors probably fare worse as they seem to be optimised for low rather than high-ISO).

A lot depends on what and what style you want to shoot. FF with a fast prime is probably the best option for anything moving in low light, but at the expense of needing fairly shallow DOF. If it does not move, then image stabilisation works well. Our E-M5 with a Panasonic 25mm f1.4 easily beats a 5D with 50mm f1.2 in low light with non-moving subjects, as the stabiliser adds about 3 stops of hand-hold-ability vs the 5D's ~2 stops from a larger sensor and slightly faster lens.

Another thing that can help in low-light is using wider-angle lenses and shooting from a closer viewpoint. If you do not mind the difference in framing, you can get slightly more DOF for the same image noise than for a longer focal length. The effect is fairly small, but it is one reason why low-light street photography is IMO easier with a GR than most other cameras that I have used.
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Old 06-09-2015   #30
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I don't have experience with most of the cameras mentioned so far, but I shot a fair number of weddings with the D700, which is still considered one of the best FF cameras for ISO performance in the last several years. We've now got an X100s that I think slightly betters it, and it's a crop sensor. However, it's also a fixed lens camera, so you might not be able to consider it. That said, my first thoughts were also that you were overexposing the scene compared to how it would actually look, although to be fair, you were there and I was not. But I'd regularly deliver quite dark images of dance floors to clients, because that's how they looked to me.
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Old 06-09-2015   #31
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The other camera which many love in dark social settings is the RX-1.
The AF performance makes it quite a struggle sometimes, but the low-light image quality is impressive.

Here's one I have online:




This is 1/30, f/2, ISO 6400. No noise reduction was applied.
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Old 06-09-2015   #32
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to me it sounds as you are just looking for an excuse to buy that m240 or that sony.

I agree, you should turn your exposure slightly down from where you had it, for such images.
6400? really? with f/1.4 aperture? That's really, REALLY low light.
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Old 06-10-2015   #33
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Like some of the others said that image IMO is way overexposed. I think that shot could have been done at 3200 or even 1600, uhoh7's exposures are good examples of what I would consider more suitable low light exposure. At 6400/1.4 your camera is likely capturing more shadow detail than your actual eyes are.

I think all these new nightvision cameras are cool and all, but I'm more interested in their increased low ISO performance than anything. I'd stick with the K-3 and wait on that new FF Pentax.
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Old 06-10-2015   #34
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^ Night-vision cameras is a great point. When you start taking pictures that make scenes brighter than they appear to the human eye, that's cool in a party trick way or if you're intentionally going for that look, but it's worth remembering that it's less representative of what actually occurred. Kind of like black and white photography.
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Old 06-10-2015   #35
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...
6400? really? with f/1.4 aperture? That's really, REALLY low light.
Or it is not real 6400.
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Old 06-10-2015   #36
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Since a DSLR is not appropriate, I estimate you will loose at least a 1/2 stop of signal-to-noise ratio.

This means the next best option is a SONY A7 something.

I would not consider the M9. Google - leica m9 "green shadow" .

Some wedding photographers differentiate themselves with images similar to the one you posted. Check out Edward Olive who I consider to be the best wedding photographer on the planet. I realize the European market may be rather different from your target market.

n.b If you decide to search for Olive's images, he does other work besides wedding photography. Some of this is NSFW. And occasionally Edward photographs same-sex weddings. So if any of these things bother people, don't search.
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Old 06-10-2015   #37
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Or it is not real 6400.
Which of the half-dozen or so standards/measurement protocols for ISO (6400) is the "real" one?
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Old 06-10-2015   #38
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Which of the half-dozen or so standards/measurement protocols for ISO (6400) is the "real" one?
It is not about protocols, but how they are implemented digitally.
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Old 06-10-2015   #39
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I like your image. Maybe you should try the custom light balance and like some one else said go for a darker shot. I have one of those milky cones to place over the lens to correct in camera the color. Don't go chasing different equipment; you'll spend all your time reading the manuals.
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Old 06-11-2015   #40
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It is not about protocols, but how they are implemented digitally.
The calibration of the sensor assembly to light is a defined standard. The measurement of the calibration is a protocol.

The problem is ISO (an industrial standards organization) has about five ways to define ISO. CIPA (Japan's equivalent of ISO) has two different standards. Then independent testing labs such as DxO use other methods altogether.

Digital multiplication can be evaluated by statistical analysis of un-rendered raw data. These are not difficult analyses. Brands that increase brightness via digital manipulation by more than a stop (or 1/3, 1/2 stops) to deceive consumers will be revealed. The same goes for digital noise filtering even though those analyses are a bit less convenient.
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